Do roosters molt?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Sunny Side Up, Nov 17, 2009.

  1. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    Do roosters molt? I don't think so, or at least not in as dramatic a fashion as hens do. All of my hens have been, or currently are in varying stages of molt. They get awfully shaggy, then show patches of skin that looks like hedgehog pelt with all the new quills poking through. I even have one hen who is almost bald all over! She looks like a chicken the cat dreams about in the cartoons, a plucked chicken running about the yard.

    But the roosters never lose that many feathers at once, and manage to stay sleek and smooth year 'round. Perhaps a few are molting near their faces & necks, but only a small patch. And the hens make a fuss over them, picking away the quill sheaths with tender pecks.

    And I've been keeping chickens for several years now, but never have seen a rooster in full molt. Is this just something the layers do? If so, how is molting connected with egg laying?
  2. chickenbottom

    chickenbottom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 30, 2008
    hollister, florida
    i just gave one of my hens away she was a meany and there rooster was molting feathers all over the place he was a barred rock
  3. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    My rooster molted pretty good, but he never looked as bad as some of my hens did.
  4. cheeptrick

    cheeptrick Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 1, 2007
    New Hampshire
    mine are moulting too...all birds moult whether they are male or female I believe...not sure it correlates with egg laying...but it may. I think it is more seasonal...then fertility etc. Mine usually moult late in the fall...some partial some FULL being naked with pin feathers looks awful uncomfortable! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2009
  5. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border

    Sorry, I just couldn't resist finding this and posting it [​IMG] !

    He isn't molting, he was "genetically designed" not to have feathers.

    I have seen low-on-the-pecking-order roos look just about that bad, tho'. I think that stress may have something to do with how they molt. Hormones must . . .

    I have 1 hen that looks like a feather pillow explosion right now. She was busy trying to brood either an empty nest or infertile eggs when the other chickens were molting weeks ago. She finished her broodiness, laid a few eggs, then POOF!

    Roosters are usually "too cool" to lose more than a few feathers at a time [​IMG].

    Last edited: Nov 17, 2009
  6. catdaddyfro

    catdaddyfro Overrun With Chickens

    Sep 16, 2009
    Vernon Parish
    Some roosters show their molt more than others. Alot of times you won't see them loose alot of feathers at once like the layers (not sure why) but the two roos that I noticed out of around 4or5 of mine that molted this year I just noticed a few new hackles coming in and all the sudden they were just beautiful again. The other two you could see them loosing their tail feathers and were a sore sight for some time. I think the roos grow their feathers in a more discrete way just because they don't have to put so much af their food energy towards egg making.

    And then again maybe the roos know they are the fairer more debonair sex of the two, and they just molt in a more distinguished/subtle way to be assured of their dignity. Couldn't think of anymore of a COCKY wat to say that, myself. [​IMG]

  7. Chook-A-Holic

    Chook-A-Holic Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 5, 2009
    Central, N.C.
    digitS', that is one ugly roo...
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2009
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Sure roos molt. Maybe less often an "all over 3/4-nekkid" type molt than in hens -- although to be honest, most of us see far far more hens in molt than we do roos, so it may only *seem* like roos do it less often, I dunno. But they sure do molt. It is especially noticeable when they molt their tail feathers [​IMG]

    (as trivia, the reason that there are some rare Japanese breeds that can achieve incredibly long tails, like 10-20+ feet, is that they have a mutation that causes them *not* to molt their tail feathers, or at least for it to be possible to suppress molting of those feathers by carefully controlling the conditions the chickens experience)

  9. Nyrial

    Nyrial Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 4, 2009
    Lake Stevens, WA
    All birds molt. It is seasonal, although the first molt isn't typically associated with seasons, as it is shedding the baby feathers and getting their adult plumage.

    ETA: I know it's molting season because my cockatoo gets super crabbier than normal [​IMG]
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2009
  10. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    You're right, I do notice when the roos molt out those long tail feathers. But I never see them losing big patches of feathers on their bodies like the hens do. And it seems they sometimes grow in new feathers that are a different color than the molted ones. I just noticed that a bantam roo who used to have mostly green tail feathers now has mostly white ones. I need to find some old photos of him to know just how much he's changed color.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by